Author and Messenger of Peace
Editor’s Note: Cassandra Curley recently joined Gandhi’s Be Magazine. Author, Messenger of Peace, and visionary for the 2,500 mile Walk for Peace, Cassandra Curley blogs on her 2,500 mile journey across America, walking 50 miles in each state in 50 weeks for her 50th birthday and the lessons she learned and shared with others along the way about “Walking for Peace.”
It wasn’t typical for me to walk on pavement during my 2500 mile “Path to Peace,” but sometimes I just wanted to explore a setting I’d never seen. Downtown Kansas City, Kansas was one of those places. As it turned out though, the area I chose was the only spot on the entire journey where I questioned my security. Mind you, I lived and worked in New York City for over seven years and am aware that a petite blonde can attract attention, but after three different men in two blighted blocks of the downtown district approached me with, “Hey, Blondie!,” I felt it was probably better to go back to my car and find somewhere else to finish the day. I’m a peace messenger, but I also avoid conflict.
Otherwise, Kansas was a pleasantly uneventful state to walk. Almost half of the miles in Kansas were walked along another scenic “Rails to Trails” corridor called Turkey Creek Streamway Trail. The rest of the miles were spent on that short downtown trek I mentioned and around the town of Lenexa, where I crossed paths with the same postal woman four times. I finally stopped her to ask how many miles she trudged with her sack every day.
“I average about twelve miles,” she responded, with a weary grin. Looking at her postal issued shoes, I wondered if maybe they would have been a more sensible choice for me. Of course, finding comfortable shoes had been a priority before starting the walk and I had given it much time and consideration. After switching between the five-toed “barefoot” shoes and lightweight, flexible sneakers, I found the former were great for unpaved surfaces and the latter worked better for longer walks on asphalt. Maybe next time I’ll give postal shoes a try.
When I told her about my walk to promote Peace, she seemed pleased that her typical week covered more than one of my pledged states. In turn, I thought that she’d make a good walking companion. Although, when considering that, “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail,” keep her from her “appointed rounds,” I’d say her relentless task is much more arduous than I could claim to have endured. Even so, there was much more to my mission than walking.
With only about five weeks left to be on foot and thirteen more states to cover, I was more focused on completing my goal than on spending excess time trying to schedule speaking engagements or book signings. Now, as I approached the 2000 mile mark, time was of the essence.
The entire journey had been weighed with an awareness to broadcast the message of peace to as many as possible, while remaining on pace to achieve the goal by the designated date. It was a constant balance of time, effort, and resources. Even though time was short, I continued to call the local news and radio stations, newspapers, and journals to seek interviews. No such luck came in Kansas, so I was left to share with passersby, fellow pedestrians, and others I met along the way.
I did continue to seek connections and broadcast leads for future states and I had some promising contacts in the southwest, California and Hawaii. Meanwhile, two online publications were running blogs that I regularly submitted and my social media sites were growing. All in all, the walk may not have flooded the nation, but it was a steady trickle.